#55UGBlogs An Awakening Dawn

Sepia.

It’s the filter on the land today. An orange-brownish hue was fallen on the land. The leaves aren’t rustling as they were yesterday, wind will not be interrupting them today. Not today.

There is a rhythm seeping through the land. If you are still enough you can hear it. Well, the African hear it. You can feel the slow pounding in your chest. The pounding the raises goosebumps on your arms and neck. Can you hear it.

The air is crisp. That type crisps that hurts your nose when you breathe in, but you do it anyway, because this what is what fresh smells like. For tonight, we are one. We stand as one. United by this land and our roots that grow deep with every generation.

68 years is a long time, a long time to live without acknowledgment on your own soil. To live in gratitude to our guests, for who allows someone into their home – only to them take charge of every aspect of their existence. Perhaps after tonight, we will have a chance.

Our chance.

A chance to escape a pre-determined destiny that had been awaiting many young adults. These adults had been piling onto buses and pickups headed to the city, many excited – their minds filled with wisps of the aforementioned chance, some of them indifferent and even some worried. Worried about the uncertainty that waited them at the dawn of this seemingly new era. But then again, was it really new, for before the start of the 68 years, we existed even though history might choose not to popularize it much.

The uncertainty that lays ahead can only be described as daunting; the idea of master would eventually have to fade and in it’s place, an awakening to hopes and dreams turned reality.

***

Evening is here and they’ve been dancing for what seems like eternity. Were his hands are sweating, I wonder. Does he know the significance of what he is about to? Does it press it’s weight on his shoulders?

They announce that the Bwola is up next. The Acholi are dancing with an energy that pulsates at that same rhythm. This is important. This night is important. There are kings in the stands… The Omugabe, The Omukamas, The Kabaka and The Kabazinga – The 5 kings are in the stands. They too watch as they wait for the hour. They are dancing the Nankasa now, waists moving to the same rhythm. Even the battalion of the Kings African Rifles can hear the rhythm.

Midnight is here… the rhythm is at it’s peak.

He is at the flag pole. The dreams of a nation on his shoulders. He lowers the Union Jack, as the nation watches in wonder. Could this really be happening? Are we once again our own?

He hoists for the first time, the black yellow red symbol of hope. dreams. freedom.

Our symbol of Independence.

credit: Anonymous Creative

**

This blog is part of the #55UgBlogs campaign by UgBlogging Community and Kafunda Kreative. 7 days where storytellers will come together under the hashtag 55UgBlogs and tell their stories of Uganda, what it means to be Ugandan. 

On 9th October 1962, Uganda attained her Independence from her British colonial masters. This piece is not all fiction, I did a little digging around the interwebs before writing this. I’m ashamed to admit that despite always longing for this holiday to fall on a Weekday, I had little knowledge of what actually transpired on the day. Aside from the usual photo or two, the details were just never of particular interest to me. As usual, the Internet does not disappoint, I found an old 4-hour video of the day, that might be interesting. 

If you are still reading at this point, then I welcome you to take some time and log onto twitter – follow the hashtag and discover who Uganda truly is. Read. Share. Submit your experience. Work that narrative!

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#UGBlogWeek: Blesser (Part 3)

Kahill wants a vacation and Twonjex wants to go for KoiKoi East, all very nice. All very pleasant. But I want something else… Not a trip to an exotic island with actual sand and clear blue water or a trip to discover my beautiful country amidst beautiful people and fun conversation.

Yes, you may proceed to roll your eyes at the character that is me.

I have seen mention of a Blesser on my timeline, and seen mention of the definition of a Blesser (see Part 2), but I am choosing this definition of blesser: a person with a heart of gold and filled up-pressed down-shaken together-running over bank account.

Yes, the bank account must be overflowing because books are expensive and my mind is thirst! Yes! I need books, more books, more than what I have already… I need to be able to stretch out and pick one when the whim attacks me. I want to be able to read and re-read all of my favourite ones.

Until they are torn and in tatters, pages missing from months and months of loving use. Yes, loving use can lead to a torn book… Or so I have been told. Truth is, I can tear my book but you cannot. If you did, your name and biometrics would be sent to Interpol, and you would be put on the International Book Offenders list.

Next to my library, I want a chair. Not the leather sort that is filled in almost every showroom in the city. No. I want the kind that I can sink into. The cushonie-kind. The kind that can support my reading gymnastics as comfort is of paramount importance.

Oh Blesser… My heart is literally skipping at the notion of it all.
Won’t you hurry and bless my mind before thirst consumes my mind.

books

Chain #1: The Vacation Adventure
http://pkahill.com/blesser-part-1/

Chain #2: The KoiKoiEast Adventure
https://djtwonjex.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/blesser-part-2/

[#UGBlogWeek] Your ballad, hidden in my soul…

Let me write about you.
Let me write about who I see.
Let me write about you.

Permit me to paint a picture of your smile.
Permit me to tell of the wrinkles that surround your eyes.
Permit me to remember the way your eyes light up.

Let me dream about your crooked smile.
Let me dream about that shadow of a dimple that draws my eyes.
Let me dream about your yesterday’s stub that tickles enough to make my morning right.

Can I tell them of your heart?
Can I tell them of your heart and the way it bleeds for people?
Can I tell them of your heart and the way it longs for justice?

And your fingers, the firmness of your grip reminds my heart of your presence.
And your arms, in them I’ve found where I belong.
And your lips…

I would write about them.
I could write about them.
But like Billy Ocean said…

You’d first need to get outta my dreams
Then wake me up before you go…
and tell me it’s real.

Happy [early] Valentine to one an all.
You are reason enough to celebrate love.
On this day and all future days to come.

love-autumn-tree_759_thinkstockphotos-177812216

Don’t be too serious… Spread some cheese and corn this month!!

Chain #2: She turned the ballad into vows… https://skyagaba.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/my-diamond-among-simple-stones/ – 

Chain #3: What is the color of heartbreak?? https://cynthiakyofuna.wordpress.com/2017/02/13/ugblogweek-i-painted-my-valentine-red/

Chain #4: The frustrations of the get-to-know each other fairytale… 
https://lakerfiona.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/frustrated-in-love-ugblogweek/

Chain #5: Won’t you stay…
https://djtwonjex.wordpress.com/2017/02/15/a-promise-to-stay-ugblogweek/


Do you have what it takes to keep this story going? Add your chain by continuing where Twonjex has left it…

a prophecy hidden in fiction #UGBlogWeek

Today started out pretty well, I completed all my tasks by midday. Including one task that I was dreading with all of me – let’s face it, some bugs are easier than others.

Despite this awesome start, little did I know that my life would come to a grinding halt after a crashing collusion with Paige’s. For the first time, two timelines have crossed and I’m seated here in the aftermath not even sure about where my head’s at.

I’ve always loved the mystery that surrounds itself in the stories that are born in my head. I knew Paige when I started typing, but I didn’t know what was going to happen to her… so as I wrote, the story unfolded. The twists and turns always happened at the point where I’m nervous about the story getting too long, also coupled with the fact that life sometimes poops like a chubby cute newborn.

Paige’s day one literally picked itself up and plopped itself into my existence. Sadly, I did not have the luxury of running to my Dee. No. I had to return to work and try to continue with my existence sans glitter, fairies and butterflies.

Because the chances of my Jared reading this are microscopic, I’ll regale you with the detail of this tale turned reality.

I’ve been smiling for no reason for the last 4 days, despite the insomnia I’ve suffered for the past 2 weeks. No, not the mind drifting, lets-soft-build-castles-in-the-air drifting. Nah bruh! More like lets-create-multiple-universes-with-different-timelines-and-warp-capabilities kind of drifting. When my mind wonders, it takes the brutal force of reality to being me crashing back. Thats the second time I have used the word crashing and it am just 200 words in.

Some universes are worth smiling over, a gaze focused passed the object in front of you, into a reality even your imagination wouldn’t mind but will not admit it. I wore blue today, for the sole reason that my mind was convinced that you liked blue. I wore those black shoes from the other day. Come to think of it, it might be the shoes. The last time I wore these shoes was also a set up for disappointment.

I was early. Ha! These days, I am hardly ever early but look at me walking in 10 minutes early. None of that, restaurant adjacent to another business. I am momentarily distracted by your scent because you smell soo good. You smile good too. Yes, insert the African blush all over this material. Conversation is easy. No forced talk or awkward silences. I’m bidding my time, I am waiting. There is a question coming. A smile on my face as I write this. The kind of question that leaves men weak and women giddy.

it was worse than website.

Paige should be happy she got website.

emotional-abuse

Split second recovery is something that is taught to you in grad school as your hours of hard work are shredded to pieces. Split second recovery is what makes you smile an emotionless smile as the memory of the moment is pulled into your head. Split second recovery is nowhere, as you stand and stare at your reflection in the bathroom mirror.

I stare at her, in the mirror, trying to scrutinise… what exactly is it about her that is not just not desirable but… sigh. I’m hugging my middle before my knees give way, making me slide into a squat. Like the one when you use in a pit latrine for better aim. You know the one…

I just need a minute. I need to process what just happened. I just need my pillow, thats all. No, it’s not a blankie, but it has more experience in these situation than the soothing cold tiles of this toilet. I’m just staring at the floor and letting the cold seep into my back.

I should probably talk to God at this point. It is probably a good idea for me to do that right about now. I should find my completion in him. I should find my centre in him. I should put my hope in him. I should… I should… I should… You know just because you say it does not make it easy.

Just because it’s running through my mind doesn’t mean I have the energy to get off this floor.

Today, should have ended different.

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***

This Dandelion tale has stolen a verse from my life.

Even Hollywood wouldn’t have been able to script this ish! Only life in it’s purest form! There is aways a possibility that life will attempt to screw you over but hope must remain. Dawn will return. 

The Dandelion series will return after this short break. In the mean time, find part One, Two and Three here.

 

i swear it’s satan’s jajja #UGBlogWeek

What just happened?

Comprehension fleeing from my sense of reason’s ardent pursuit. I look up and a waiter is coming toward me with what looks like the bill.

Great! Just great! To add to all the commotion, the gudu did not have the courtesy to pay the bill for a meeting he called.

You must think I’m being petty and mean, after all I have never been pregnant. I have never had my water break. I have never walked into a restaurant looking for my baby daddy to make said water breakage announcement.

Yes, I’m allowing myself to get carried away, wouldn’t you? Aren’t I allowed this privilege? After all how many of you would interrupt a ‘friend’s‘ meeting to announce your broken water? All sensitive hormones aside, of course… and yes, at this point I’m doing a hard mental eye roll.

Cold air had hit her hand as he retracted his warmth from her. A sudden look of worry and horror awash on his face. That in itself was a telling sign. That was his child. He was going to be a father. I will not be a home wrecker.

A bitter chuckle escaped my lips as I picked my bag from under the table, home wrecker my foot. The guy wanted a website, last time the world checked, web development is not a contributing factor to home wreckage.

I place the money plus tip into the bill wallet pouch looking thingie and walk out. I’m making a mental note not to get caught in this drama again.

***

He has been calling every two days since 3 days after the meeting. May be it was a hard labour. Lisa, my sister had had one of those. She had been in labor for a week, till the doctors advised her to consider a cesarean birth.

All the more need to ignore these calls. She, the girl, needed him now more than ever. He has no business calling me with such frequency.

It’s been two weeks and I wish he would just stop. Almost as if on cue, my phone lights up, his caller id flashing clueless in kisementi. I turn off the volume and watch it ring until he gives up.

 

until two days from now, I mutter to myself.

I wonder what it is with the number two, why two days? He could choose to call every day, not that that would make a difference but I wonder why two days. A loud sigh escapes my lips, and Dee glances up from her desk.

Crap, mentally chiding myself for not having better control of my emotions. I smile at her then gaze outside the window. Dee knows. She knew about the ‘meeting’, we had oohed and ahhed and sighed at all the probabilities, but none of us had put Website in the realm of possibilities.

Has Jay called again? She asked with a genuine sympathetic look on her face.

Yes, I gave her a different name. No, it’s not what you think, I am not that insecure, that I would give my friend a fake name. No. It’s just that he is Jay, in my head anyway. My short form of Jared. The name that I would end up calling him, only now he will remain clueless in kisementi.

Yeah, he did. I answer while glancing at my phone.

Perhaps you should consider picking up next time. Just listen to what he has to say. She said delicately.

Dee was the proverbial fence-mender, always believing the best in people. That day two weeks ago, I’d barged into her house while gasping and sobbing so hard, she had feared the worst. Nope. Just it was another self inflicted broken heart. I seem to be getting good at collecting these.

Let’s go book shopping today, I say to her purposefully changing the subject.

She gives me a pointed look but I avert my eyes, my tears are closer than I like to admit. I am not yet ready to face or hear him.

I can’t. John has a friend in hospital, we are going to visit this evening. 

John is her boyfriend. They have been going steady for the last 3 months, sadly with my level of self involvement, I have never met him or inquired about him. I make a mental note to get more involved in her life once the Jay Jared matter is put to rest.

Okay. I respond. I’ll just book-window-shop for a little while to get my mind off this.

***

I’m standing by the elevators looking at the entrance of Aristoc. I’ve been standing looking at the entrance for the last 10 minutes. For obvious reasons, I’m failing to go in, a reaction which one half of me finds utterly childish. Almost as if I am stuck in a Disney movie.

I turn back and head back to the ground floor and there is another bookshop in this mall. While their books are expensive, they are a welcome distraction. Yes, I know there are people out there with more serious problems than mine but what gives you the right to sit there and judge me. How would you like to have a moment of crisis and have me tell you to suck it up and move on.

As I walk into New Day bookshop, I am reminded how the last time I was here, I was chased out because I was eating ice cream on a cone. The utter irony is that the place has a mini bakery-style-coffee shop in it.

I avoid the shop attendants, today I am in no mood for small talk. I find 3 Karen Kingsbury books and 1 old Frank Peretti. I made myself comfortable in one of the chairs and started the real book browsing. The two Kingsbury books were a little bit pricy, so I decide to do the Amazon-price comparison. Yes, Amazon plus a ridiculous bank exchange rate would be cheaper for two of the books. I wasn’t really planning on buying…

Paige?

I look up, slightly surprised and slightly guilty. Nothing like being caught amazon-ing a book in a bookstore.

Yes?

I’m Bosco. You don’t know me, but I’m Jared’s friend. He has been trying to reach you.

Wait what? His sentence took a moment to sink in. Jared’s friend. Comprehension and anger were doing a tag team thing, WWF was going down in my head. So the gudu is now sending his friends to stalk bookstores in Kampala? Glad, I didn’t enter Aristoc! He is probably seated up there waiting, in which case, serves him right!

Yeah. I’ve been a little busy with meetings and deadlines, I manage to say in a controlled voice.

Is he okay, I add, feigning concern.

No, he was involved in an horrific accident at the Mwanda-Mulago junction. He was with his …

Everything else he said faded into the background. Accident? The world was tilting precariously to the right, worry and guilt suddenly making my finger tips go cold and numb.

acc… accident… I stutter in a whisper.

***

This is part three in the dandelion series.

Dandelions or Satan’s Jajja as I used to call them in primary school are beautiful and almost have a certain ethereal quality. This, however, does not take away the reality that they are weeds, plain and simple.

If this is your third read, thank you for persisting on this story’s journey with me. As I wrote this, I wondered if Paige’s reactions were realistic – If you were in her shoes, would you have picked up the phone?

Part two can be found here

 

even weeds can be pretty #UGBlogWeek

You could have said that in an email, she said while glancing at her cup.

I could have, but I wanted to see you, is what I wanted to say. I really did, but that would not have been professional.

While in Aristoc, Bosco had insisted on me keeping it professional, going on and on about Paige’s status in the industry and about how she didn’t take crap from anyone. He was in the middle of the lecture when Paige had breezed in. From the stationaries stand, they quietly watched her hand her helmet to the guard and walk to the African Authors section.

Her blue jeans had me singing that Ginuwine song, they perfectly sculpted her lower body. She wore a plain tank top and a red and white checkered shirt unbuttoned on top of the jeans. The sleeves of her shirt were rolled up, revealing her arms. Her smooth arms.

I shifted my stance to get a better look from our concealed spot, and literally felt Bosco’s accusatory stare.

That is exactly what I am talking about, Jared!

Even though he spoke in an octave above a whisper, it was hard not to overlook the urgency in his voice. What did his friend think he was capable of doing?

It’s not like I was inviting her to a 3-day getaway on an island one minute south of the equator. It’s not like I had imagined exploring every single inch of her on said island. It’s not like I had imagined waking up to the scent of her lying next to me or imagined watching her walk, the way she swayed her…

Are you even listening to me? Bosco said as he grabbed me by the arm.

Yes. I am. I will not mess this up. I replied between breaths and made my way toward her.

My palms were a bit sweaty which was a little uncharacteristic for me. There were no books at the section near her that I could use as a ruse. I mean, really, grabbing a book on IT for Dummies would not make the best opening. Winging it was the next best option.

From that point on, every thing seemed to be going fine. Well, that is until about now. Now, it felt like someone had turned the air condition on in Bistro. I could have sworn that as soon as I mentioned the website, she had sat up straighter and her tone about the email sounded different. Bosco would say I am doing it again. Noticing things that are not even there.

Email is so impersonal, I prefer meeting all clients and partners face-to-face, you know? I say while smiling. Face to face interaction allows people to understand each other better, even from reading nonverbal cues, you know when to sell harder or back off. 

Jeez! I sound like I’m a lecturer at Makerere! What am I doing?!

So what are my nonverbal cues telling you? She asked while sipping her tea.

I suppress a smile, I wonder if she appreciated how her actions had meme material written all over them. Ice. That is what her current nonverbal cues were screaming at him. She was throwing daggers of ice at him and he had no clue why

Honestly, I do not know you well enough to gauge.

That was such a lie! Why am I spewing so many lies today?! I knew her well. I’d watched her at the front of the class for three years. The last two of them spent seriously infatuated with her.

However, what I do know is that you will absolutely love this project.

During those two years, I had learned that Paige loved to get involved in children’s causes. I had volunteered at one event, just because she had gone around class giving out flyers. I was the only one who had signed up that day. That was the same day she had turned, looked at me and smiled. The world had shifted slightly that day.

I leaned over and placed my hand on top of hers, We are trying to mobilise people to visit orphanages around the city on Christmas day. We would like a place where people can sign up, but more importantly be able to give to the cause on the website as well. 

She smiled.

That same smile that made her dimple show. That same smile that elicited a physical reaction from me. That same smile from that day in class. At least this counts to progress! Global warming was hitting the glaciers.

I glanced at our hands, noticing for the first time how soft her hands really were.

I really hope… 

JARED!

Came a shriek on my right. A shriek that I know very well. I’m trying not to groan out load. Sophia! What did she want? And NOW of all times!!

She waddled while panting toward their table, with a small suitcase in tow. The waiters looking slightly confused, slightly worried about the scene that was about to unfold before their eyes

My water. It just broke! Sophia gasped out of breath

***

This is part two in the dandelion series.

Dandelions or Satan’s Jajja as I used to call them in primary school are beautiful and almost have a certain ethereal quality. This, however, does not take away the reality that they are weeds, plain and simple.

There is a mini-poll going on amongst some about the identity of Sophia and who she is to Jared. Who do you ‘want’ her to be?

Part one can be found here

… tell me about tomorrow, today #UGBlogWeek

I’m starting off this month’s UGBlogWeek by finishing off the Vodafone Uganda series. Part one of this series can be found here.

10th November saw Vodafone make some announcements about their strategic change of direction. This blog is going to cover the last two things about their announcement that caught my eye.

Two:  Shifting audience focus to target universities as well as SMEs
Three: Moving away from traditional 2G voice and headed toward VoLTE (Voice over LTE).

VoLTE stands for voice over Long Term Evolution. Utilising IMS technology, it is a digital packet voice service that is delivered over IP via an LTE access network.

Why you will love VoLTE: Ensures that video services are fully interoperable across the operator community, just as voice services are, as demand for video calls grows; Delivers an unusually clear calling experience; Meets the rising demand for richer, more reliable services
Source: GSMA

Vodafone plan to enhance LTE network by deploying wifi in malls, universities, creating a converged network to mirror seamless connectivity for users from LTE to Wifi. These Wifi networks will not require a separate data bundle but will work off the bundle already purchased by the user.

One app targeting SMEs and University students is Chat+. Chat+ is a VoIP (Voice over IP) Application that boasts of HD call quality and messaging features that are found in today’s popular messaging apps.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), is a technology that allows you to make voice calls using a broadband Internet connection instead of a regular (or analog) phone line. Some VoIP services may only allow you to call other people using the same service, but others may allow you to call anyone who has a telephone number – including local, long distance, mobile, and international numbers.
Source: FCC

In addition to free app-to-app calls, Chat+ allows it’s users to call out of the application, that is to say to landlines or numbers that are not registered to use the app – users will get charged the normal call rate (SIM call rate).

In comparison to its competition, Chat+ went the ambitious route of offering all key features provided by its competition.screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-14-33-pm

One key note though, is File transfer and Video calling are not free due to their large data requirement. The rest of the features are offered Free, where free means you have a valid data bundle (i.e. more than 1MB of data, yeah… that’s right! No data charge unless you are using the two previously mentioned features)

The app also works on Windows, Android, IOS (imagine that!!) as well as a desktop version that is independent of the mobile app (side eye, WhatsApp and your desktop integration).

It has been dubbed the total communication package, for people looking to start a business, for students studying in groups and for people who want to engage with tomorrow’s communication today.

Now, onto the application itself… I’m looking at the IOS version on a 5.5in screen with a 1080 x 1920 px resolution.

I will confess that when I heard about the app, I immediately wanted to put vodafone to task over the fact that earlier this year they talked about putting a stop to their unlimited packages but alas! The fact that there is no data charge on all but two features, is a huge plus for them. Since the intended audience are SMEs & students, this is probably something that will be well appreciated.

<cue subtle plea> Just think of the potential of Chat+ offered together with the unlimited package! Especially for SMEs that thrive on face-to-face video communication.
subtle plea>

What would make this the ultimate communication tool for me? The integration of Stickers and GIFs. Yes! There is a certain app that allows the use of both these things and my friends on that platform know my obsession.

Also, the scale of some portions of the app seem a bit off. Blame the is the newly awoken UI junkie in me for pointing this out. The keyboard and keypad seem a little larger than they should be making the user experience just a tinsy winsy bit jenky.

Cool Fun Note
Have you ever noticed the red open apostrophe in a chat bubble? It immediately brings to mind the beginning of a conversation. Right?

Why then wouldn’t you want to talk about tomorrow, today?

vodafone_logo

This is part two in a two part series about the things that intrigued me about the VodafoneUganda announcement. Have you downloaded Chat+? What do you think about it? Did it still work on 1MB?

*Featured image source: Dignited via Google